Thursday, 15 March 2007

Slug census

You know, I reckon it is possible to tell one leopard slug from another. These are mugshots of the three slugs I found last night.

The first was in the dried up bird bath. (I'll be getting complaints from the sparrows.) This one has plenty of black on the mantle, including a distinctive serpentine squiggle near the front. I'm not sure that I've seen this individual before but the stretched out W might be a good diagnostic character.

The second was next to the bird bath. This one has patches of buff on the mantle and some of the black markings are joined up by smudges of grey. You can see that in the two lateral blotches towards the rear of the mantle. I've seen this slug before. I think it's one of the individuals in this post. (It's on the bottom right.) And you know what, I suspect it was one of the slugs entertaining themselves on my potted plants the other night.

The third slug is a shade darker. And, after munching its way through the discarded cereal, a whole lot fatter. This individual also has greyish smears connecting the dots but they're more frequent and larger than in slug number two. I have no doubts that this well-fed animal appeared in the Slug World post. (It’s on the top right.)

So that's ... what ... five or more leopard slugs in the garden?

I can't go on calling them by numbers. ('I am not a number: I am a free mollusc.") And as dubbing them Ralph-n-Lisa caused tummy troubles (sorry, Lynsey), I'm open to any suitable names. Whether they are is another matter.



I am still sceptical about this. You should run some blind tests. Take 2-3 slugs, put them in separate containers, photograph them & then ask someone who hasn't read these posts to identify each slug from photographs.

Snail said...

That's sort of what I'm doing, though. What we need is a huge test with lots of slugs and a few photos—including some of slugs that aren't in the test.

A massive leopard slug line up.

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